It's hard to make beautiful dashboards! We will be the first to admit that we occasionally put out some less than perfect work when we're short on time for beautification. That said, we do pride ourselves on making sure that our vizzes make sense, at the very least. From the amazing visualizations we see everyday on Tableau Public, we know we aren't alone. This viz, however, leaves us with more questions than answers.

If this dashboard were to be reduced to one failure, it would be needless complexity. The cone you see below is a perfect example. It is attempting to show the ethnicity of students enrolled in a college, but all it does is raise more questions. A bar chart or even just text on its own would be an excellent way to display these five simple numbers, but the author instead turned it into a 3D cone. This has the effect of skewing the tip of the cone to look smaller and skewing the base of the cone to look larger. For instance, even though White students make up almost half of the total, their area in the chart looks less than 20%. Even a pie chart would be better!

The color choice and labeling on this gender distribution pie are both pretty helpful but the 3D is just superfluous.

Color legends are pretty important for vizzes that include, well, color! Without one here, I have no idea what this viz is showing, besides that it has something to do with admissions. Also, 3D again?

We saved the best worst for last. If you click on "Admissions Scorecard" in the top nav of the dashboard, after you wait for about 20 seconds for the view to load, you will see this speedometer/odometer pair. To make things easier to understand, while loading the speedo shoots past its current total, then below it, for extra effect as if the admissions "car" were speeding and then braking and then increasing to its current level. The odometers also take their sweet time ticking their way up to their totals. Speedometers have been torn to pieces by every living "viz master" for their uselessness, so I won't drone on there. My main gripe is that it takes a good 30 seconds to see a valid view when text could load in one and be easier to understand.

This dashboard has some more interesting viz choices, click off and check them out if you want.

Until next time, Viz Police out!

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Comentários

LOL. These are so bad. Thanks for sharing. I don't even have to think about this stuff with Tableau's great defaults.

This is awful on so many levels. The stacked cylinders look like they should be a combo chart with the blue cylinders turned into columns (2D please), and the green constant cylinders turned into a target line. Why they are stacked, I don't know.

I notice in that inverted cone, the second slice down isn't even labeled, but the artist probably couldn't tell. In a bar chart, it would be obvious, because a bar would be missing its category label.

The mouse-over dynamics are nothing if not distracting and annoying. Not at all helpful.

Thanks for your comments!

I agree with the comments above completely, and there are numerous other horrific examples if you click thru to source page. However, how do fellow viz idealists convert management (or Sr Mgmt) that insist they want the cutesy 3d effects, speedometers, etc.? I've been trying to just stay the course and make more effective graphs with minimal eye candy... but I'm not sure whether I'm really winning any converts....

Remember they guy shouting 'STOOOOOOOPPPPP' at the 2010 conference when Stephen Few was demonstrating Business Objects?

Well, STOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPP!!!!!

Tom

Hi Tom,

Why was that guy shouting stop? Was it because of Stephen Few or because of Business Objects?

Martin

Wondering when the Viz Police will strike again!

The illegible student counter and demographic funnel are both strong contenders for the gold

That's a good question Martin - my assumption was that the request to stop was related to Business Objects. Stephen Few had been presenting for nearly 30 minutes when the request was made, whilst Business Objects had only been on the screen for a minute or so.

That's the only evidence I have though, so it could have easily been a request for Stephen to stop that happened to have unfortunate timing for Business Objects.

Can anyone help identify the delegate so we can put this one to bed?

Tom

Tom,

Personally, at the TCC my feeling was, after looking at UI of BusinessObjects and having it dissected on stage was painful to watch, I really felt bad for the developers of BusinessObjects. After a few slides, I felt like "Okay, we got the picture, the UI for that other application could be improved, vastly improved, I don't want to look at the train wreck of a UI any more. Show more Tableau vizes please"

And for this blog post, my reaction is similar, yeah that dashboard is poorly done, but I would rather see it remade in Tableau.

It's hard to make beautiful dashboards! We will be the first to admit that we occasionally put out some less than perfect work when we're short on time for beautification. That said, we do pride ourselves on making sure that our vizzes make sense, at the very least. From the amazing visualizations we see everyday on Tableau Public, we know we aren't alone. This viz, however, leaves us with more questions than answers.

/Jo/John, http://ireviewgaminglaptops.com, http://dryscalphomeremedies.us, http://howtopottytrainatoddler.us, dejtingsidor.org

I strongly recommend Tableau to reinforce the 3D capabilities.